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Bee Winfield
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Nannup, Western Australia, Australia
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Deluxe model wicking bed proves a success

Posted by Bee Winfield over 11 years ago

5 meter long bench height wicking bed finished November 10th . Plants looking good after many heat waves

We have incorporated a worm tower for disposal of vege scraps in our second deluxe wicking bed….. 5 meter long and bench height. The tower is simply a thick walled pipe which is made from  recycled plastic bottle lids, ( hence it is gaily coloured)  buried 4 inches ( 100 mm) or so into the surface of the wicking bed. The earthworms can  enter to feed. We simply deposit our kitchen scraps or  chook feathers  in the pipe along with some water  and replace the lid to keep out flies and other pests. Wet any dry-ish materials and, if you really want to care for your worms ( and who doesnt) , you could even run your big scraps like cabbage stalks or watermelon skins through a blender for a few seconds before slopping them in .  The worm tower transforms the whole wicking bed into a big worm farm. Worms will always be happy as the moisture is so reliable in the wicking bed.  Their castings added to the soil will make  plants to thrive.

 The two 5 metre wicking beds built on a slope mean I can plant from the downhill side without  bending….absolute luxury.

We made these in an area that has pretty poor water pressure so irrigating the standard garden bed  is too time consuming .


Using “waste” jarrah that would normally be burnt has its building and aesthetic challenges but it would be hypocritical to use sleepers from the big mill which is fed from the last of our native forests. These forests were last logged with hand tools in 1920!  All governments since then have reserved them for high conservation value until  the Barnett state government’s Minister for Forestry Terry Redman gave the  go ahead to log them all, thus sealing the fate of the numbat and 3 species of black cockatoos, all of which are critically endangered.

Friends have used corrugated iron sides and wooden posts at the corners. I am a little cautious of using metals which could break down  against soil so I stick with wood.


Below you can see the woodchips have filled the 200 deep black plastic reservoir, the fill pipe has been installed, the shadecloth has been laid over the woodchips and the soil is being shovelled back into the box. I put a thin layer of mulch on top to  protect the precious soil bacteria which are destroyed by ultraviolet light and dryness.

Here we are in January and we've survived another 40 degree day. The tomato and egg plants aren't bothered. Young Lee is looking for caterpillars on cabbages with ease. 

Worm tower can be seen with blue lid . This bed's reservoir  has been filled only once  since when it was constructed  about November 10th 2012. 

These are a bit of work to set up but will save us time and  back aches for many years to come and I highly recommend them for arid areas.


Dome garden and wicking bed 016 January wicking bed 008 5 meter wicking bed 002 January wicking bed 001

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My Badges
My Permaculture Qualifications
Living Waters
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Verifying teacher: Claire Coleman
Other Teachers: Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton, Dave Coleman, Joel Salatin, Darren J. Doherty, Ross Mars
Location: Denmark Western Australia
Date: Jan 2009
Pri verified
Permaculture Research Institute
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Verifying teacher: Geoff Lawton
Other Teachers: Darren J. Doherty
Location: Zaytuna Farm
Date: Sep 2008

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